From Tracie: Diagon Alley Is Coming & CityWalk Is Expanding

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Diagon Alley Is Coming & CityWalk Is Expanding

Universal Resort Orlando held a press conference earlier this week with lots of exciting news. I was able to attend it, and I have a sneak peek at some of the plans Universal has for 2014. It is going to be a big year.

Mark Woodbury
Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative

CityWalk Expansion

Universal CityWalk is going to expand in 2014. This expansion will involve the addition of several new restaurants:
  • Red Oven Pizza Bakery
  • Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
  • Hot Dog Hall of Fame
  • The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
  • Italian Kitchen Concept
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwhiches
  • Menchie’s
They are also going to move and expand an existing Starbucks to twice its current size, and unveil a redesigned and enlarged Universal Studios Store.

CityWalk Restaurants

While Katarina and I were at Universal Orlando Resort earlier this month, we ate lunch at The Red Oven, which is the first of the new restaurants to open. The pizza was great, and one pizza is big enough to feed two adults, so it is a good value option.

Artist Rendering CityWalk Expansion

One of the more inventive of the new restaurants I am looking forward to trying is The Cowfish. Marcus Hall and Alan Springate are the creators of this unconventional restaurant. Marcus owned a burger place and Alan owned a sushi restaurant, and they wanted to have a restaurant that would please everyone. Thus the sushi and burger bar was born. They offer sushi, burgers, and a hybrid they call Burgushi.

Marcus Hall
Marcus Hall, owner The Cowfish
I am also excited to try Antojitos. It is currently under construction, and should be the next restaurant in the planned expansion to open. Seriously, I am excited to try all of these new restaurants coming to CityWalk, and to have ice cream and frozen yogurt choices. Universal CityWalk is assembling a great mix of restaurants to add to their existing offerings.

*For more information about the CityWalk expansion, check out this video.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort 

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the new on-site hotel coming to Universal Orlando Resort in 2014. It is going to be a value priced hotel, featuring 900 standard guest rooms and 900 family suites. The family suites will be capable of sleeping six, and they will include kitchen areas. This is great for families who don't want to eat out for every meal during their vacation. The hotel will also have large pools, a lazy river, a ten-lane bowling alley, game room, fitness center, and dining options for those nights when you just don't want to cook.

I love the retro, mid-century design. The artists renderings are super cute, and when I recently drove by the construction, I really felt the 60's vibe. It is going to give your family that iconic American summer vacation feeling without emptying your wallet.

*Cabana Bay will begin accepting reservations on March 31, 2014.

Diagon Alley

This is the most exciting news: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is expanding. London and Diagon Alley will be coming to Universal Studios Florida in the summer of 2014!

Artist Rendering Diagon Alley Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion

Located where Amity and the Jaws ride used to be in Universal Studios, the streets of London will be represented in detail, and hidden behind them you will find Diagon Alley. It will have streets and alleys, and you will also be able to eat at The Leaky Cauldron. The restaurant is based on the set from the The Prisoner of Azkaban.

The most exciting part of the expansion is the Hogwards Express. You will be able to take the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4, to Hogsmeade in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That is going to be such an amazing experience. I can hardly wait to hop aboard.

Universal Resort Orlando has not yet announced the official opening date for this expansion, but I am thinking we can all just block off the entire summer of 2014 for Harry Potter awesomeness to be prepared.

*For more information about the Diagon Alley expansion, check out this video.


  1. Wow! Does that mean Amity and the Jaws ride are gone forever? Of course my aunt works for Universal and probably knows this, but she's retiring before the summer. And we're going in January so it looks like I'll be too early for these changes. Boo!

    1. That just means that you will have to come back again in the summer!! :)

      Amity and Jaws are gone forever. But they do still have the iconic giant shark hanging up where you can take pictures.

  2. So, my youngest daughter has never been to Disney. Maybe this is a good reason to check it out in 2014! I think the girls would really love this.

  3. I love all these posts about your experience at Universal! I'm now kinda hoping I can convince Ian to spend our honeymoon at Universal. Wouldn't that be cool??? Or maybe it can be our Christmas next year. Either way, I need to come have some butterbeer soon!